Let's get romantic for a minute. And where better to start than with Ash Dixon.
Dixon may not fit the brief for Jockey's next male model. He's more rough and rugged than the traditional boy next door image.
Put him at the back of a rolling maul try that gives Hawke's Bay their first win against Canterbury in 38 years, though, and that's a thing of beauty worthy of any poster.
Dixon has made an art form of accurately hitting lineout targets and rumbling over the line with the Highlanders and Hawke's Bay. This season, he's one of the best hookers in the country, a pin-up example for those who get better with age.
At 32-years-old the chance to crack the All Blacks has probably passed him by but, in many respects, Dixon is a shining light for how much more there is to New Zealand rugby than the national team's priorities.
Dixon will lead Hawke's Bay on Sunday as they challenge Otago in Dunedin for the coveted Ranfurly Shield, a prize this week described by an NBA-loving, Central Otago-raised friend who coaches tennis as the greatest trophy in sport.
That same mate, Dwayne Cleugh, convinced his pregnant wife, Gaby, to drive four-and-a-half hours (one way) from Auckland to Inglewood last weekend - for their rescheduled Greece honeymoon, no less – to watch Otago wrestle the Shield from Taranaki on Sunday.
It gets better, or worse, depending on your viewpoint.
Before the match, Dwayne sat Gaby down to watch Otago's last minute 1994 Shield defeat to Canterbury, his earliest rugby memory when David Latta was wrongly penalised by referee Colin Hawke, and Waikato's victory over Auckland in '93 "to understand what it means".
Only in love does anyone delve into, or agree to watch, such archives.
"It's a unique experience that any code fan should get once in their life, taking the Shield in enemy territory," Ranfurly-raised Cleugh, a huge Vilimoni Koroi fan, says triumphantly.
"If rugby means anything to you, this means everything to you. The Shield is the symbol, but it's what it represents. Holding it as a region is a bond that reminds us all where we are from. It's the greatest trophy in sports.
"Gaby has agreed that if we hold the Shield for the rest of the season we can call the kid Vili."
On a contrasting yet similarly passionate note Callum Ross, a salty mate from Stratford, says one week after celebrating Taranaki snatch the Shield from Christchurch: "Having the third shortest Shield tenure isn't a record we desired. Overall, we're just glad those dirty Cantabs don't have it. We'll be cheering hard for the real Bay this weekend to keep it moving."
Herein lies the romance of New Zealand rugby.
In the age of professionalism provincial rugby - last year staged at the same time as the World Cup in Japan - will always struggle to capture global broadcast dollars required to sustain the game.
Minimal match-day attendance is another reason why games should be taken to smaller boutique venues, to clubs, rather than behemoths such as Eden Park where even half decent crowds look ridiculous.
The All Blacks returning to their roots in the first two weeks of this year's competition gave the provinces a welcome shot in the arm, but the reality is the Mitre 10 Cup will soon fall down the ratings rankings once the belated test season commences on October 11.
Passion for the grassroots game is arguably strongest at this level than any other, though. Fans certainly feel more genuine connection to their provinces, to their often small towns of origin, than they do Super Rugby bases.
For many players, winning the Shield will be the pinnacle of careers. Otago's one test All Black first-five Josh Ioane posted a picture with the caption: "Greatest days of our lives."
Look at the scenes the Log o' Wood generates at airports, club rooms and schools as it rapidly ventures across the country, creating priceless moments at every stop.
Look at what provincial success means to regions such as Southland. Successive home wins for the first time since 2016 has their community buzzing.
Look at the outburst of passion from Ruben Love, the 18-year-old Palmerston North Boys' High fullback who scored in the corner on debut for Wellington against Bay of Plenty last weekend. Every province has a similar story.
These elements cannot be dismissed as the future of the provinces, and their tenuous role in the high performance pathways, comes under increasing pressure in the financially fraught coronavirus world.
When the time comes to assess the realities of funding the New Zealand game, this romance must not be lost.
When else would you hear of a honeymoon in Inglewood?